Observations in Pastel

Easter Sunday today. Funny, I don't see any rabbits...

We had to be up and out extra early this morning so the pastor of Glenwood Presbyterian could get ready for Easter Sunday services. I've found that each church has its own unique features. Glenwood's is that it has the smallest congregation so far of all the churches we've visited, but seems to have the richest history. They've actually got a History Room where they keep copies of church records. The vast majority of them are handwritten meeting minutes filed in binders, but there are still fascinating glimpses of the church history almost from its inception in 1914. I turned to some of the entries from 1945 and the 1950s, but there was curiously no mention made of the end of WWII or the Korean War, respectively. I guess no one wanted to talk about it. Can't say I blame them. The room also has pictures of the way the church originally looked, pictures of the damage done by a fire in the middle part of the century, and the rebuilding effort. It looks much the same now as it did then. The room also sports the original altar bible that was rescued from the fire by a 17 year old member at the time, who risked the flames to do so.

It's called dedication, folks.

Glenwood Presbyterian is set in the Glenwood (duh!) community of Greensboro. Glenwood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in town, and the architecture of many of the houses reflects that. It is also one of the most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in town. Unfortunately, the economic scale tends towards the lower end of the spectrum, and there is considerable criminal spillover from some of the rougher neighborhoods bordering it. Still, many sections of Glenwood are quiet, and there seem to be a lot of houses there that are either empty or for rent/sale. Maybe when this nightmare is over...

The other unusual thing about Glenwood Presbyterian is that we've had much more contact with the pastor this week than we've had with most of the other churches. We've met some of the other pastors, of course, but usually as they were stopping by briefly to have dinner with us or in some other official church capacity. Pastor Randy (as the kids call him) is one of the most hard-working, down-to-earth people we've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I made the suggestion to him this morning that the material in the History Room should be digitized, burned to disk, and a copy kept in a safe deposit box somewhere, in case there's another calamity that threatens the records. He seemed to like the idea; I only wish I could also have recommended a good scanning service. Some of those pages are kind of fragile; it's not simply a matter of laying them on a flatbed scanner and firing up a copy of Photoshop or OmniPage.

After we'd gotten back to the Day Center, I realized how tired I was. These early mornings are really starting to take their toll, but I couldn't rest yet. I still had to go for my Sunday paper. Gotta see who's hiring and for what, yessiree. Mike and Nessie had gotten Easter baskets from the members of Glenwood Presbyterian. Despite my best efforts, Mike had eaten half of his candy by the time we'd returned to the Day Center. My exhortations against eating candy for breakfast and warnings about poor dental health and the possible onset of diabetes fell on deaf ears. As usual.

Note to self: have no more kids. They tend to become teenagers...

I went and sat on the porch for awhile first to gather my strength. Besides, it was already hot inside, and there was a light breeze wafting by at the time. The sun was still early into its climb into the sky. Yet, there were people rriving for church across the way. Being still too tired to start my walk to the convenience store, I observed the congregants for a little while. All were dressed in their Sunday best, the women working the pastel angle because of Easter*. There were all ages, of course, ranging from a few babes in arms all the way up to wise old grandmothers. Most were couples or singles (with what seemed to be a few single parents), but there were a few families that were going in as well. I envied these, with the well-dressed father who owned his house and made good money doing a job he liked; the gorgeous mother who was totally devoted to her husband and family and no doubt had job skills of her own; and the scrubbed, well-behaved kids who never talked back to their parents and brought home straight As. The contrast against my own dysfunctional family was of course quite stark.

Crap! The Beast was stirring. Time to go. I abruptly got up from my chair and headed toward Fisher Park and the store beyond.

On the way I passed by the large houses I'd passed by last Sunday. I paid particular attention to one, built sort of in a faux Southwest Spanish style. The place was big (although not as big as the Professor's House), and again, I imagined what it would be like to live in a place like that.

Fah! You'll never have a place like that! What are you, 43? And you've done nothing with your wretched existence so far but land a low-wage job, get yourself evicted, fail your family and ruin any chance you've ever had to get ahead! Not to mention all the girls whose hearts you succeeded in breaking! Maybe you better move on before the people in that house have you arrested. Of course, that seems to be all you're good for...

Damn! The Beast was awake and in full form. I tried to throw my internal soundtrack at him, but it had been stuck on Alec Costandinos' "Judas Iscariot Suite" for several days now, in honor of Easter. And the Beast had long since built up an immunity to disco. To help combat him, I left the house at a double pace and headed down a set of steps into the park. At the bottom was a small stone bridge spanning a brook. It was quiet there -- environmentally and mentally -- so I sat down for a minute. Birds were singing all around, and I heard the frequent rustling of squirrels scurrying above in the branches and below through the underbrush on some inscrutable squirrel errands. I reached a set of steps that led down into the park and found near the bottom a small stone brisge over a creek. Sitting for a moment, I took in nature. A bird flitted up to a branch not far away and I recognized it as a gray titmouse. I didn't think any were around here. Of course, our state bird -- the cardinal -- was well represented, and there was no shortage or robins. Several were engaged in feathered flurries of combat to establish territory.

Feeling rested and Beast-free, I moved on. He chortled somewhere in the back of my mind, but seemed to content to simply ride along and observe. For the moment.

Reaching the store, I noticed a flyer taped to a glass door of an associated diner. Apparently there was to be a seminar oon Saturday run by two people who promised to take Biblical and corporate principles to help people discover how to make $50,000 in just a short time. The registration for the seminar was only $20; in fact the promotional blurb mentioned how the seminar leaders had used the last $20 they had to learn the techniques themselves. It wasn't lost on me that the flyer was taped to a business that sold state lottery tickets and I wondered if the odds of winning were any different.

On the way back I passed the Professor's House again. This time I noticed that a driveway I thought was associated with teh house next door actually wound around the back of the Professor's. I also noticed that there was a name on a brick post next to the driveway. I kind of wish I hadn't seen that; it took away some of the mystique of the place.

The rest of the walk was a blur as I focused on simply getting back to the Day Center, since by fatigue was returning. I got inside, sat down with my paper and have been battling sleep since.

And I still haven't seen any rabbits...

*Aside to the single guys out there: some of the hottest women on Earth are in the churches. Pick a large church some Sunday morning and see for yourself...

"The contrast against my own dysfunctional family was of course quite stark."

Don't worry, all families are dysfunctional in some sort or another, some are just more open about it. And by the way, your kids sound great.
Do you know that Polish thinking about you and wish you good lack? I have hope that everything will be ok.
I wonder myself if it was possible here in Poland, for a homeless guy to seat in a library and write about his situation. I guess not. I think it's good for you to have at least that kind of a "place" in space;) Best wishes 4 you and your family from a polish girl ;) Stay tuned, because I will be visiting you here from time to time. As a matter of fact, this is your "home" now... a bit virtual, but still some kind of a place to exist.
1. do you predict there will be aggression against Iran by the US of A?
2. Do you think the economy will falter(any more than it has to date) in the remaining years of the BUsh Administration?
3. Do you predict the situation in IraQ will get any better or worse in the years remaining for the Bush Administration?
4 DO you think CHina will have aggression towards Taiwan in the next 3 years?

And aggression means acts of war but I m speaking Orwelian here so give me a backrub, you know what I mean!

1) No. Since the inception of the Atomic Bomb, we've NEVER, EVER attacked another country who has them. Why should we start now? After all, wouldn't it be pretty hyprocritical of us to nuke a country because they have nukes?

2) Here's a FACT you might not have been aware of... The economy is actually THRIVING, not faltering! Since 2000, the unemployment rate has been the LOWEST it's ever been in the history of the United States! The interest rates have been the lowest it's ever been in DECADES! The percentage of home ownership has been the HIGHEST it's ever been in US history! The stock market has climbed back to pre-dotcom bust level. We've NEVER taxes this low in history! So what makes you think our economy is faltering? If you haven't taken your own share of the economic pie, then it's not because the economy is in the tank... But yes, it can and WILL falter, because what goes up, must come down!

3) Depends on which country you're talking about. If you're asking if the US' situation will get worse, than the answer is obviously NO. George Bush went into Iraq for reason known only to him and his staff, so only they can tell you if it will get better or worse for us. Our situation was to convert Iraq from a Dictatorship into a Democracy. Are they a democracy now? Do you think they will be a democracy when Bush leaves office? Well, there's your answer! If you are asking about the citizens of Iraq and THEIR situation, then yes, it will only get worse while Bush is in office. The MAJORITY of the Iraqi population never WANTED us there, don't WANT us there now, and don't WANT us there in the future. When WE leave THEIR country, then THEY will fix their own selves.

4) What would it matter to the US if China did attack Taiwan? Aren't they both our allies/trading partners? What's the risk to us if China conquered Taiwan? The same as if they didn't. Again, look at what I said in point #1 for the reason.
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